Mondavi, Barbour, and Brown’s Extraordinary Cabernet
In his 94-point review, Robert Parker calls this library release 2012 Aloft Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa’s Howell Mountain “gorgeous, a flamboyant and dramatic wine with terrific fruit intensity.” Parker’s tally only hints at its pedigree-fueled excellence. Vintner Marc Mondavi, turned a slice of Howell Mountain into the wine’s source, Cold Springs Vineyard. Its fruit is cultivated by Jim Barbour, the acclaimed farmer who has curated vines for Heidi Barrett, Philippe Melka, and Aaron Pott. The winemaker is Thomas Rivers Brown, author of more than 25 perfect 100-point scores, and Food & Wine Magazine’s 2010 Winemaker of the Year. This trio converges on what Parker calls a “gloriously ostentatious, charming, rich, well-balanced vintage” to craft a layered expression of Napa ripeness. The combination of star-studded talent and Parker’s “Extraordinary” vintage is on full display in this truly magnificent and opulent Howell Mountain Cabernet.
In 2003, Marc found 60 acres in the quiet hills of Howell Mountain, situated 1,600 feet above the Napa Valley floor. Marc was immediately mesmerized by the rolling hills and varying soils and as taught by his father Peter Mondavi Sr., he knew these were factors destined to produce fruit with abundant character and complexity. Each year, Marc Mondavi and Thomas Brown pick just enough of their favorite Cold Springs fruit for the small production of Aloft, leaving them with a mere 16 barrels to share.
This library release from the outstanding 2012 vintage was hand-harvested and then sculpted by Brown to extract the subtleties of Cold Spring Vineyard’s iron-rich, loamy terroir. Juicy, spicy, and long, this Cabernet is ready for friends and food now, and will be for years to follow.